A Hero and a Coward: The Story of a Divided Nation

A Hero and a Coward: The Story of a Divided Nation
A Hero and a Coward: The Story of a Divided Nation

By this time, most readers will recall the viral videoes of Pennsylvania State Representative Brian Sims bullying an elderly lady and later harassing teenage girls protesting at a Philadelphia-area Planned Parenthood “clinic.” Fewer will have heard of the incredible heroism of Kendrick Castillo who sacrificed his life to protect his fellow students at STEM School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

Both incidents happened around the same time. However, comparing their stories will provide a powerful example of the strength of Catholic faith over the weakness of the “modern religion of social justice.” It also illustrates the disparity between the media’s treatment of the two cases.

Tales of Two Men

Kendrick Castillo was a senior who was three days away from graduation. He was present when two other students, aged sixteen and seventeen, came to school with intentions of mass murder. One of them was subdued by school security. The other was stopped by Kendrick and some friends, thus saving many lives. Kendrick, however, was killed during the attack. Immediately, he was rightfully acclaimed a hero by the other students, his parents, and those of the media that cared to tell his story.

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Brian Sims could not be more contrary to Kendrick. Mr. Sims represents the 182nd district in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He is openly homosexual and was first elected in 2012. He appears to have made a hobby of filming himself as he harasses women who pray in front of abortion centers. At the time of Kendrick’s sacrifice, two of his films went viral as he shouted insults at an older lady praying her rosary and offered viewers $100 if they might identify some protesting teenager girls so that they might be later harassed.

The Role of Holy Mother Church

Both men were raised in the Catholic Church.

Life Site News presented Kendrick Castillo as being actively engaged in the charitable work of his father’s Knights of Columbus council. His friend Cece Bedard described his dedication saying, “He told me he wanted to be a (Knight) because he wanted to help not only people but (also) his community,” Bedard said. “He was the bravest soul I’ve ever met and never even cared what others thought because he was too busy finding ways to make you smile.”

Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila was away at the time of the incident, but described Kendrick Castillo as, “A young man who followed Christ and laid down his life for others! …I will offer Mass for Kendrick & his family here in Rome.”

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His father referred to his only child as “the best kid in the world.”

It is not surprising that Rep. Sims has a more distant relationship with the Church. In an interview on Religion News Service, he described the role of religion in his upbringing, “My parents raised us generically Irish Catholic—Christmas and Easter Catholics. When I was around sixteen, I stopped going to church with my family. I don’t remember what prompted it, but one Christmas Eve my parents asked me if I wanted to go. I said I didn’t, and they didn’t put up much of a fight.”

Rep. Sims appears to be proud of the fact that, “I’m the only elected official in Pennsylvania that didn’t have to set foot in a house of worship to get elected.” That attitude is amplified in a statement from his video, quoted by USA Today, “Shame on you,” he said, marveling at the “amount of mental gymnastics it must take to think that you have a right to tell a woman what’s right for her body” and yet “support a faith that has molested children across the planet.” The same man showed no moral decency as he followed a woman around as she was quietly praying a rosary and called her “disgusting,” “shameful,” and an “old white lady.” His cowardice in harassing the teenage girls is also telling.

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Contrasting Media Reactions

In the wake of Mr. Castillo’s death, the self-appointed keepers of social morality, National Public Radio, interviewed Melissa Glaser, a licensed professional counselor. Heroism must make NPR nervous. Interviewer Scott Simon indicated his approval as she said, “We don’t want students thinking that the right thing to do is to be a hero. We want students thinking that the right thing to do is to follow safety protocols….” She went on to counsel against seeing young men like Mr. Castillo as heroes: “So we do want to honor their lives, their sacrifice. But we also do not want to sensationalize the idea that this is a good thing to do. We’re walking a very tricky line.”

An Internet search1 reveals that NPR did not cover the Sims case on a national level. Pennsylvania affiliates WITF and WHYY did. Both outlets attempted to appear objective, but their biases showed through. Both were careful to identify those who objected to Sims’s behavior as “Republican” or “conservative.” WITF gave Rep. Sims the last word—the last five paragraphs of the story. It concluded with, “Rep. Sims responded to an online critic: ‘Bring it, Bible Bullies! You are bigots, sexists, and misogynists and I see right through your fake morals and your broken values.’”

Most liberal media also ignored the nearly one thousand people who gathered in front of the same Philadelphia Planned Parenthood clinic to protest the bullying of Rep. Sims.

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On the surface, the stories of Kendrick Castillo and Brian Sims have little to do with each other. Taken in tandem, they reveal modern attitudes toward virtue. The chivalric virtues of Kendrick Castillo cause concern lest others follow his self-sacrificing and noble example. The cowardly “social justice warrior’s” harassments cause no concern but are treated as examples of defending woman’s rights.

The two men represent two worldviews that are engaged in the nation’s culture war. In this case, the pro-abortion side brutally revealed itself while those that admire self-sacrifice and virtue can praise the heroic actions of Kendrick Castillo.

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1.  “National Public Radio, Brian Sims” run on May 16, 2019.
Updated June 3, 2019.